Sept. 30, 2010
LOS ANGELES - UCLA hosts the annual SoCal Tournament for the first time in program history this weekend, welcoming 15 other men's water polo teams to Spieker Aquatics Center and Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. The Bruins kick off their tournament schedule against No. 16 Princeton on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Spieker Aquatics Center. The winner of that match will face either No. 7 Pacific or No. 10 Loyola Marymount later in the day at 3:10 p.m. The Bruins carry a 5-1 regular-season record into the tournament.
SATURDAY, OCT. 2
No. 16 Princeton (8-2) at No. 2 UCLA (5-1)
Game Time: 8:30 a.m., Spieker Aquatics Center
No. 7 Pacific (6-2)/No. 10 LMU (6-5) at No. 2 UCLA (5-1)
Game Time: 1:50/3:10 p.m., Spieker Aquatics Center
SUNDAY, OCT. 3
Two games against teams to be determined
Winners' bracket to be played at Spieker Aquatics Center
BRUINS DEFEAT LIONS
UCLA registered its fifth win of the season last Saturday, downing No. 10 Loyola Marymount, 14-6, under the lights at Spieker Aquatics Center. Senior Ben Hohl scored a team-leading four goals and sophomore Josh Samuels added three goals in the non-conference win. The Bruins raced to a 5-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, outscoring the visiting Lions in each period. Goalkeeper Andrew Mesesan made six saves in the cage, making his first career home start for UCLA.
Senior Ben Hohl enters this weekend's tournament leading UCLA with 16 goals and ranks second among MPSF players, averaging 2.67 goals per game. Hohl has scored in each of the team's six games this fall, having twice scored four goals (vs. Pacific on Sept. 18, vs. LMU on Sept. 25). The native of Atherton, Calif., has scored 116 career goals and currently stands 10 goals shy of breaking into UCLA's all-time goals scored list. Former standout Corbin Graham (1993-96) ranks 10th with 126 career goals.
Cristiano Mirarchi became UCLA's first freshman since 1997 to score five goals in one game. He accomplished the feat in a 10-9 victory over Stanford (Sept. 19) . Former All-American Sean Kern scored five goals on Sept. 7, 1997, in a 22-0 victory over Air Force at the Triton Tournament (San Diego). Mirarchi, from Rome, Italy, enters this weekend's SoCal Tournament with 11 goals, second-most on the team, and ranks 14th among MPSF players with a 1.83 goals per game average.
DON'T BE OFFENDED
Over 78 percent of UCLA's scoring output from one season ago has returned this season. UCLA's returning letterwinners account for 240 of the team's 305 goals (78.7 pct) from last year. While the Bruins have lost leading scorer and 2009 MPSF Player of the Year honoree Scott Davidson (47 goals), UCLA returns key scorers Ben Hohl (40), Griffin White (33), Josh Samuels (32), Cullen Hennessy (23) and Emilio Vieira (20). Those five players accounted for 48.5 percent of UCLA's total goals in 2009.
The Bruins return 15 letterwinners this fall, losing five players to graduation. UCLA ended its 2009 campaign losing to USC, 7-6, in the NCAA championship. UCLA won the 2009 MPSF Tournament after having finished fourth in the conference's regular standings with a 5-3 record. Seniors Ben Hohl, Clay Jorth, Kevin Kuga, Jacob Murphy and Emilio Vieira will be counted upon for veteran leadership in 2010.
AROUND THE WORLD
Seniors Ben Hohl and Jacob Murphy spent a portion of their offseason playing for the USA National Team in Europe. Hohl and Murphy both competed for Team USA at the Volvo Cup in Germany. Hohl continued his stint with the National Team during the summer, playing alongside veteran Team USA attacker Adam Wright (UCLA's second-year head coach). Hohl and Wright helped Team USA finish fourth at the annual FINA World Championships (Oradea, Romania).
Sophomores Griffin White, Josh Samuels and Bret Lathrope proved to be impact freshmen for the Bruins in 2009. White tallied 33 goals, the highest single-season freshman total since Brett Ormsby logged 41 goals as a freshman in 2001. Samuels finished just behind White with 32 goals, while Lathrope saw action in all 30 games and netted 11 goals. Lathrope, Samuels, White and redshirt freshman Chris Wendt spent the summer playing for the USA Junior National Team at the Pan American Games in Pinecrest, Fla.
Three players on the Bruins' 2010 roster arrive at UCLA after having grown up outside the United States. Senior Emilio Vieira hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and spent two years studying at Golden West College (Huntington Beach, Calif.) before enrolling at UCLA in 2009. Freshmen Aimone Barabino and Cristiano Mirarchi call Italy home. Barabino, from Recco, Italy, spent the 2009-10 school year in New York City, attending La Scuola d'Italia, while Mirarchi attended high school in his hometown of Rome.
As released by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) on Sept. 29, UCLA has been tabbed No. 2 in the national top-20 rankings. USC is ranked No. 1 in this week's poll, while California, Stanford and UC Irvine complete the top five picks, respectively. UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, Long Beach State, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount round out the top 10 selections, respectively.
AT THE HELM
Adam Wright begins his second year as UCLA's head coach. The four-year Bruin letterwinner (1997-2000) and a 2001 graduate of UCLA helped lead the Bruins to a 23-7 record and MPSF Tournament title in his first season as the program's head coach (2009). Wright represented the United States on the men's national team at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, leading Team USA to the silver medal in 2008.